Made of Tomorrow designers’ beautiful new build

When design professionals Matt Genefaas and Dan Craig started searching for their first home, they quickly realised that in order to be truly happy, they’d need to start from scratch. Having relocated to Tauranga from Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland just before Covid hit, the founders of homeware brand Made of Tomorrow had found themselves feeling a little displaced.

MAIN IMAGE Matt (left) and Dan in their living space, on their Muse sofa by Sarah Ellison, with a trio of Florence mirrors by McMullin & Co and a Parentesi lamp by Flos from ECC suspended beside them. ABOVE The home’s shape and neutral colour palette are enhanced by thermally modified redwood timber from Rosenfeld Kidson, and rendered bricks that provide a textured effect that lets the light dance off them in different ways throughout the day.

“We’d been burning the candle at both ends, working really hard to further establish Made of Tomorrow, and felt that we needed a change, so I took a job at a magazine in Tauranga,” says Matt. “The offer was a great opportunity that forced us to move here, but due to Covid, the job didn’t last very long. Eventually, though, as many people found during those times, our flame for Made of Tomorrow was reignited. That time allowed us to find more direction and motivation to make our business what we’d wanted it to be for a long time.
“After the first lockdown, we got a warehouse space, and from there Made of Tomorrow grew in leaps and bounds,” he continues. “Within a few months, we had two spaces and we recently moved into a new warehouse space and showroom in Tauriko. Made of Tomorrow really found itself and its style. At the beginning, we’d wanted it to become a household name, and now it has, which is quite surreal.”

ABOVE Also in the light-filled living space, a thrifted side table and a Togo Fireside chair by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset hang out with a Huggy chair by Sarah Ellison beside an Aeris fire by Cocoon Fires.

The growth of the brand — for which Matt and Dan create minimalist, functional objects and paper goods to enhance everyday life, “designed in New Zealand with the essence of tomorrow’s trends” — presented the pair with an opportunity to buy their first house, but after viewing a few open homes, they still hadn’t found what they were looking for, so they started to search for the perfect plot of land instead. They spotted it on the outskirts of town, in the rural-adjacent suburb of Poike, in a new subdivision surrounded by paddocks and marshland, with an outlook across the water towards Mount Maunganui.
“It was Christmas Eve when we found it and fell in love with the view,” says Matt. “We decided we had to have it.”

ABOVE “Our coffee table is an incredible 600kg rock we sourced from local artisan stoneworkers,” says Matt. “The Tawny Oak Feature flooring by Forté needed to be reinforced to hold it.” The Venetian plaster feature wall was custom-coloured to complement the kitchen island, and on the other wall is an artwork Matt made.

Matt and Dan signed on with a local building company, who were excited about the collaborative project. They worked closely with the company’s architects to develop the plan they wanted, then hired their own contractors, suppliers and industry connections to bring it all to life. Having worked in design for eight years, when it came to the build, they discovered their aesthetic understanding and attention to detail were both a blessing and a curse. “We found that knowledge can be to your detriment!” says Matt.

TOP These Fold Wavy shelves were designed by the couple via flipping and folding the blob shape of their dining table in different ways. They’ve since included them in Made of Tomorrow’s offering. ABOVE The booth in the dining space is a favourite spot of Dan’s. “If I’m not working in the warehouse, I’ll be there from 8am till 5pm,” he jokes. He and Matt reimagined the office space on the home’s original plan to create this nook, as having an office in their main living zone made it feel less relaxed than they wanted it to. They used Belize fabric in Moss from Elliott Clarke Textiles for extra texture and made it even more comfortable with a Beatrix bolster cushion by McMullin & Co.

Being 100% sure of what they wanted and conveying that to contractors was tricky at times, as they sought to execute their vision with precision and finesse. “We wanted to achieve a lot, but like most projects like this, we were balancing a budget,” says Matt. “We wanted to create a high-spec home as affordably as possible.”

ABOVE Fabricated and installed by Pacific Coast Kitchens, who constructed the cabinetry throughout the house, the kitchen is crafted using Woodgrain Umber panels from Laminex and handmade zellige tiles. For Matt, the coffee station in the adjacent scullery, with its custom-painted Appartamento machine by Rocket Espresso Milano from Atomic Coffee, is a highlight. “We love having people over,” he says. “Friends will come for breakfast and we’ll start with a pot of coffee, then move onto espresso, then serve kombucha and juices with breakfast, and it’ll flow right through to homemade pizzas in the pizza oven and drinks outside in the evening.”

And so they did. One of the many ways in which they made the three-bedroom home their own was to take the rectangular footprint and push out certain areas to slightly extend the floorplan, giving it different dimensions, creating areas of drama and paving the way for the bulkheads that have become much-loved elements in several spaces. Seeking to further enhance the feeling of expansiveness within the relatively modest 170m2, they also raised the height of the ceiling in the entryway and living areas to 5m.

ABOVE Against a backdrop of Resene Double Sea Fog, a Hotaru Buoy pendant light by Ozeki & Co from Simon James is suspended over a Blob Bollard table now available from Made of Tomorrow, which was designed specifically for this spot to maximise the small space and offset its hard lines.

As well as this soaring ceiling, the couple added all sorts of bespoke details to evoke the calm and sophisticated atmosphere they were after. For example, a Venetian plaster feature wall in the living space brings beautiful texture to the neutral palette beside full-height cavity sliders painted green with custom handles. They played on the lack of natural light in the main bathroom to create an elegant sanctuary with a dark grey ceiling and mosaic tiles that promote a feeling of luxury.

TOP The couple are enjoying adding to their art collection. In the main bedroom, a piece by Dan takes pride of place beside a pair of Melt lights by Tom Dixon from ECC. The bed is another of Dan and Matt’s creations; they designed, stained and upholstered it, and had concrete balls crafted for its legs. It’s teamed with an Arch side table by Made of Tomorrow that has a Tundra Grey stone top. MIDDLE & ABOVE In a similar but contrasting scheme to the main bathroom, the ensuite features porcelain mosaic wall tiles from Cinca, Tundra Grey stone flooring, a self-designed mirror and a Wave basin by Meek.

In drawing on their professional experience, the couple aimed to really showcase what they could do on a residential project. “To spark our creativity, we wanted to challenge ourselves with product design for our home, but we didn’t want any existing Made of Tomorrow pieces in the house,” says Dan. “Instead of bringing work home in that way, we created new pieces that have since become part of the Made of Tomorrow collection.”

TOP & MIDDLE Low natural light in the main bathroom is channelled into a spa-like vibe through darker porcelain mosaic wall tiles from Cinca. A Josephine hand towel by Baina sits on the shower’s built-in ledge alongside haircare by Sans, while a mirror that echoes the one in the ensuite sits above a Doric basin by Meek. ABOVE Ready to accommodate family and friends, the home’s second and third bedrooms are also palpably restful. Some of the key details in this one include a feature wall made with timber from Rosenfeld Kidson, curtains in Laconia Air linen from James Dunlop Textiles, a Curve light by Brightgreen from ECC and a headboard by McMullin & Co.

Bringing in a boutique ambiance to offset the stresses of their busy work life, Matt and Dan incorporated a fragrance pump into the ducted air conditioning. Any given moment will find them with soothing music playing and candles burning. They hardly ever use their downlights, preferring softer lamplight instead.

ABOVE Outside, a 4m concrete circle has been inserted into the deck as an anchor for a conversation zone centred around a Gio fire pit by Coco Republic.

When asked about their favourite items, they find it hard to choose just one. “We don’t have a lot of stuff, but everything we do have has its place and purpose,” says Dan.
“Ultimately, we’re really proud of what we’ve created,” he continues. “This house is a product of us — every detail, big or small, from each paver to the way the outdoor wall curves, and almost every piece of furniture was designed by us. There’s a lot that goes into a build. This was a huge project and we didn’t have a team of interior designers making those calls.”

MIDDLE Levelling up with its own daybed and characterful curved wall, the kitchen on the deck was stained a dark walnut hue to match its indoor counterpart, creating a sense of the interior living spaces flowing out into the outdoor ones. It also features utilitarian aluminium benchtops, a built-in Weber barbecue and a pizza oven. ABOVE Achieving a goal to use solely New Zealand natives to help create a space that blends seamlessly with its surrounds, the landscaping scheme the couple came up with was implemented by Edge Landscapes. A balance of embracing the outlook and ensuring privacy is provided by an electric screen.

Next up for this creative duo? A one-way ticket to Indonesia. “We’ve decided to head to Bali for a while and see where it takes us,” says Matt. “Now the build is finished and the business is in a good place, we’re excited to get away and reset, and discover new inspirations to further fuel the fire.” 

Words Monique Hemmingson
Photography Adrienne Pitts

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